AP Interview: Jordan prince says Islamic extremism can't be defeated by force alone

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Extremist Islamic ideologies pose a global challenge, but can't be eradicated by military force alone, a brother of Jordan's king said Wednesday.

Prince Feisal al-Hussein, who heads Generations For Peace, a grassroots group that promotes tolerance, told The Associated Press that a drawn-out battle lies ahead.

"We are in this for the long haul," he said in an interview. "I don't think this type of ideology is going to disappear overnight."

He said military force has its place but that "if you only rely on that, then the problem is not going to go away."

Jordan's King Abdullah II, the prince's older brother, is a crucial Western ally. Jordan has assumed a high-profile role in a U.S.-led military coalition against the Islamic State group, which controls large areas of neighboring Syria and Iraq.

Jordan is also seen as vulnerable to the spread of militancy, with lack of jobs and opportunity for many of the country's young people providing a potential breeding ground for radicalism.

The prince suggested Jordan is at no greater risk than other countries, saying extremism is a global problem.

"You are finding people are being radicalized all over the world," he said. "We only have to look at what is happening, whether the attacks in Paris ... the attacks in Beirut or even in Mali. This is not something that is isolated to the Middle East."

His grassroots group is teaching young people about tolerance and resolving conflicts without violence, often using sports to spread the message. The prince said Generations For Peace has reached closed to a quarter of a million people in 50 countries on three continents in the past decade.

Turning to sports, the prince said he backs a decision by the International Olympic Committee last month to suspend Kuwait's national Olympic committee to protect it from what was described as undue government interference.

It is Kuwait's second suspension in five years, barring its athletes from participating in next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Feisal said he hopes Kuwait reverses policies that led to the suspension. He said that "it is unfair that they will have potential athletes that can't compete under their own flag because of what the government is doing."

The prince also gave a shout-out to a brother, Prince Ali, who is one of five candidates to replace FIFA president Sepp Blatter in February elections. Asked about Ali's chances, he said Ali is a "fantastic candidate," but that the decision is up to FIFA.